Domingo reapplies to be South Africa coach

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Jul
4

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‘Fantastic honour to work with this team’ – Domingo

Russell Domingo has confirmed he has reapplied and been interviewed to be South Africa’s coach when his contract expires in August, at the end of the England tour. There had been suggestions that he would not seek an extension in the position after CSA said they were going to go through a full recruitment process for the role.

“I have forwarded my application form and I have gone through an interview,” Domingo said in London, three days before South Africa’s first Test against England at Lord’s.

In Domingo’s most recent previous media engagement, on June 11 when South Africa crashed out of the Champions Trophy, he had still not decided whether he would put his name forward for the job. Then, there were only five days left for interested parties to apply. Domingo confirmed he had submitted his details “before the closing date” on June 16 and was interested in taking South Africa forward.

Domingo outline a “whole host” of factors he considered before making himself available for reappointment. “No.1, family life, which is important. No.2, the performance of the team, which is obviously important. And then whether you feel you’re the right guy to take the team forward, whether the team’s showing signs of improvement in all formats,” he said.

Under Domingo, who took over in mid-2013 when South Africa were on top of the Test rankings, South Africa initially maintained their status but then lost several senior players and a slump in form that saw them slip to No.7. Despite being under enormous pressure to let Domingo go, CSA stuck with him and extended his contract twice in that time. Domingo went on to oversee the Test side’s resurrection to No.2.

In shorter formats, Domingo has been in charge through two 50-over tournaments and two T20 events and is the only coach under whom South Africa have won a World Cup knockout match – the 2015 quarter-final – but he has not been able to break their ICC trophy drought, something he would like to change. “There’s a lot I’d like to achieve with this side – an ICC event is a big thing for us,” he said. “We’ve also started the process of rebuilding our Test side. We’re still not where we need to be, we’ve got our ranking back up but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

South Africa remain a team in some kind of transition – as many teams do – and it has long been touted that a foreign coach could be the essential to take them to the next level. However, among the names reportedly mentioned as candidates only one, Phil Simmons, is not local. Instead it is believed that CSA is not looking beyond the country’s borders with Lions’ coach Geoffrey Toyana considered the frontrunner to succeed Domingo.

Toyana has won four trophies in five seasons with the Lions franchise and nurtured the likes of Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Temba Bavuma and Chris Morris. ESPNcricinfo has confirmed Toyana was interviewed. Domingo must be aware of the same but said he will not let perceptions affect how he goes about his job.

“I’ll be honest with you, if that is it, then so be it. It’s cool. It’s out of my control. It’s not something I go to bed thinking about or wake up in the morning thinking about,” he said. “It’s not something that generally affects me. I can’t comment on what the particular feeling is towards how people are seeing the process. It’s out of my control. It’s not the way I see it, and the way I see it is that there’s due process that needs to take place. They need to decide if I’m the right guy to take the team forward and so be it. That’s how it is.”

A clutch of senior players seem to have already decided that he is. In recent months, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar and AB de Villiers – all three leaders in their own right – have thrown support behind Domingo which could help his cause. “Player support is massively important. The most important support you need is from your players,” Domingo said. “We work with these players day in, day out. I’ve loved my time working with them and, obviously, by the support they’ve shown they’ve enjoyed what we’ve offered the team. That is satisfying.”

Domingo maintained that whatever happens he will finish his current term pleased with the job he has done. “It’s a fantastic honour to work with this team. I’ve loved my time with it and hopefully I can continue. If not, it’s in the best interests of the team. I’ve had a fantastic run and loved every single minute of it. It’s not my decision — it’s up to the board.”

CSA has appointed a five-man panel including two former national coaches, Gary Kirsten and Eric Simons, to recommend the new coach to the board when they next meet on July 21. A final decision will be announced after the England series, which ends on August 8.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

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